The bottle: Virginia Distillery Co.’s Cider Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky, $64.99
The back story: When we think of Scotch whisky, we think of highlands, lowlands, moorlands and the like. But here’s a “Scotch” that’s crafted in…Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
Virginia Distillery Co. is one of a growing number of American craft spirits producers that’s making booze in the style of Scotland — that is, a single-malt whisky. The company was the brainchild of the late Dr. George G. Moore, a tech entrepreneur and native Irishman who came to call Virginia home. Dr. Moore had a passion for single-malt Scotch — whisky that comes from a single distillery (as opposed to a blended Scotch) and is made from malted barley. But like others, he saw no reason why such whisky couldn’t be made in America. So, Virginia Distillery Co. was born. And while Dr. Moore passed away in 2013, his family has continued the business.
Naturally, it takes some time to make a single-malt whisky, because much of the flavor comes from the aging process. Thus, while Virginia Distillery waits to release its signature single malt in 2020, it is taking some of its younger whisky and combining it with true Scottish single-malt for a unique hybrid. And to make matters more interesting, it is aging the combined spirit in select casks to impart certain flavors.
Which brings us to its Cider Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky. As the name implies, the casks involved were once used for cider — Virginia-made cider, of course. But if cider is not your thing, Virginia Distillery also offers everything from Chardonnay Cask Finished to Port Cask Finished whiskies.
What we think about it: This is a delicate, light-bodied whisky that has an easy-sipping quality. The distillery says you should pick up creamy and sweet notes with a hint of acidity from the cider. It might not be the go-to drink for a fan of smoky Scotch, but it is a delight on its own.
How to enjoy it: The distillery suggests adding a drop of water to help coax out the flavors, but also says it can be used in cocktails.
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